Naši mejniki

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Naši mejniki is a volume of short stories by the Slovenian writer Prežihov Voranc (1893–1950). The book was published in Slovenian in 1946, the German translation is Grenzsteine .


The stories in Grenzsteine ​​are about events in the Slovenian-Carinthian border area. First and foremost, stories of partisans and experiences with and by National Socialists are told, which are based on actual events, but have been literarily alienated by the author. There are also two descriptions of stays in the concentration camps that the author had to experience first hand, as well as an extract from his diary that was translated into Slovenian for the original. All of the stories come from the author's immediate surroundings, go back to his own experiences or were researched by him and are set between 1941 and 1945. The book is not a crude glorification of the partisans, although the author is on their side, it not only depicts individual heroic deeds , but also things that were often kept secret. It reflects the split attitude within the Slovenian people towards National Socialism, opportunism and duckism as well as the cruelty and inhumanity of this war.

The old castle . The first story is about a disabled youth named Vester, who observes the events that have been going on since the German invasion in 1941 near a castle ruin above a Slovenian town (meaning Drauburg). He sees the initial enthusiasm of the population, then how gradually individuals and families are being evacuated, up to the beginning of the partisan struggle, when prisoners were then brought to the castle ruins to be executed here. The boy's initial secret observer function changes when the torture of a brutal interrogation by a local National Socialist on a local young woman who is hiding partisans unfolds before his eyes. Vester throws snakes that have sunbathed there at the tormentor Hubert, and the latter flees in a panic. A short time later, the captured Vester is executed on the same castle ruins himself.

Kristina . Three Slovenian boys volunteered to take part in a patrol to track down partisans on the mountain above the village. In fact, they run into these and a skirmish ensues in which all three shoot a person who disappears into the darkness. Driven by a guilty conscience, they then return to the scene because they feel they have shot this person. They find a young woman, Kristina, who fought as a partisan and is now badly wounded. Out of pity they take her downstairs and hide her in one of their houses. During the time of the care they get closer and closer to Kristina. When she disappeared into the woods, recovered, one day she returns as a commander of a partisan unit and forces the three of them to join the partisans. It was the first such partisan mobilization in the area. Then you don't know anything about their fate. After the war, only Kristina returns to the place of her former care. All three boys were killed, but one of them is carrying a child.

Midnight farewell . The short narrative describes the last night of four prisoners in the Ljubljana Military Court building before their execution.

A father . The old farmer Valentin Kravar has four sons who work abroad and initially have nothing to do with the resistance. He looks one after the other and asks them to go to the partisans on the mountain. All sons do this too, but when they come home safe after the war, their parents are no longer there - they were picked up in retaliation.

Three sons . The short story describes the fate of three sons who all went to the partisans and all perished. The father had to bury all three himself.

Saint Agnes . To the lonely mountain church of St. Agnes, nine captured partisans are brought to execution by a group of German soldiers. There they are shot. Then a partisan unit accidentally runs into the group and in turn shoots the Germans.

Two friends . Two close friends are together with the partisans. One of them is badly wounded in combat. When it seemed hopeless that the wounded man could still save herself, she asked her friend to shoot her before she was taken prisoner. After a difficult inner struggle, the friend fulfills this last request.

Two friends . Life finally separates two originally inseparable childhood friends. While one becomes a German soldier, the other ends up with the partisans. The partisan is taken prisoner. One of the German soldiers volunteered to execute him. When the two face each other alone, they recognize each other again. The situation is hopeless. Then the prisoner manages to escape. While the German soldier shoots himself, the other is shot while trying to escape.

Business in Vič . A citizen of Ljubljana, a businessman who believes he can stay out of the political disputes, goes on a business trip to the southern district of Vič. The city is occupied and hermetically sealed by the Italians. Since he was not guilty of anything, the citizen is completely calm and safe. When he happens to be sitting at a hairdresser's to be shaved, Italian soldiers storm in. You are completely distraught and nervous. The completely soaped citizen is led away with the hairdresser and the apprentice. Over time it turns out that an Italian was shot and the murderer disappeared in the barber's house. Since the soldiers cannot find anyone else, they take the three bystanders with them. When the citizen stands tied up in front of a firing squad, he realizes that it is not possible to stay out of the war - but it is too late.

The winner . A detachment of German soldiers came to a farmer who had helped the partisans, to take his belongings as punishment and to shoot him. The farmer, realizing his hopeless situation, asks for one last cigarette and uses it to light his own farm so that it does not fall into the hands of the Germans.

The call of home . A man emigrated to Romania decades ago and has not been heard from. Therefore, he has no defamation at home. Suddenly, during the war, a young man appears in a house who only speaks German. After a long period of uncertainty, it turns out that it is the son of the missing person who came here from Romania to join the partisans. The householders are frightened and don't know what to do with him. They take him in and try to talk him out of his plan. But one day the boy disappears and later a daughter and a son who was on home leave also disappear. That is why the old were banished. But the young Romanian and the daughter of the house both fell in battle.

How many are there today? Here the author describes his own experiences in the Mauthausen concentration camp . He and four others belonged to a so-called death squad who had to walk through the camp every day, counting the deceased prisoners and carrying them away. For each dead person they received the food ration for that day, which had already been allocated. One of the commandos, a Russian, traded in these excess food rations. When one day a supposedly dead man, whom they had thrown on a heap of corpses, comes to life again, it is precisely this Russian who feeds him back with his portions.

Seven children . A fellow prisoner told the author in Mauthausen concentration camp how he was spared by a murderer in another labor camp because of his seven children.

The people around Uršlja Gora . The houses on the mountain are on fire. Germans and partisans set fire to each other's houses. The one who was the first to go into the woods to fight as a partisan was the last to fall just before the end of the war.

Encounter . The author tells of various encounters with other Carinthians, German Carinthians and Slovenes during his captivity.

Eight comrades . The story is about the execution in a remote forest.

The child care worker . The diary of the National Socialist child welfare worker Rosi Germoll (fictional) between 1941 and 1945 depicts the ruthless psyche of a woman.


The book is not one of the author's most widespread works that have been published and translated many times.

  • Naši mejniki. Kratke storije iz minulih dni . Celje: Družba sv. Mohorja, 1946
  • Zbrano delo vol. 3: Naši mejniki / Nezbrane novele in črtice (1945-1948) / Solzice / Dodatek. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, 1971

German translation